Unplanned Intentions – Speakeasy #154

Dearest Jeffrey,

I still love you.

I wanted to get that out of the way in case you didn’t bother to read further.  We didn’t part on the best of terms, in fact, when we last spoke, I didn’t recognize it as goodbye.  For twelve months, I’ve waited for you to come to your senses, but instead, this morning I found out you are to marry Lucinda by mid-June. 

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.  It seems our love had been fate’s experiment from the moment I ran into you at the corner of West 6th Street and Mill.  Maybe you were supposed to be in that crosswalk, but I should’ve been at East 6th Street, a couple blocks away.  Had I been blessed with a sense of direction, you never would’ve rolled across the hood of my Passat.  I never would’ve spent two guilty weeks in the hospital praying you’d wake from the coma.  I would’ve been spared the catch of my breath when you opened your eyes and smiled at me.

I saw her at your bedside as well.  Fate can be cruel sometimes.  Often, I began my shift, taking the chair still warm from her vigil.  What began as duty changed to devotion when you first held my hand.

When I demanded you choose her or me, I meant that I loved you so much I would stay, even though sharing you meant the fragile fault lines of my heart would never heal.  I didn’t contemplate the possibility (or ramifications) of you choosing her.  Now I know the misery of not having your love at all is far greater than the dagger of your divided affections.

I expected you to realize your error in not returning my calls.  I knew if I stopped by your house enough times, you’d finally unbolt the door and enfold me in your hungry arms.  Even as I heard the news of your engagement, I imagined me being the one you really wanted.  It’s little consolation that you feel obligated to her because you loved her before me.

Even though I know she put you up to it, the restraining order has dimmed my hope of reconciliation.  If you can’t promise me a lifetime, I’ll settle for one more night. 

Love,

Catherine

With a mixture of shock and disgust, I stared at the red-inked truth on the plain white page.  My heart spilled out like the contents of a stolen handbag.

I read my words; stupid, silly notions that took a life of their own.  As impulsively as I scrawled the secrets lurking in my heart’s shadows, I tore the paper into dozens of pieces.  I twisted and pulled until the fragments were too small to grasp between my fingertips, and then with one quick swipe of my hand, they fluttered to the ground.

My bag once again packed and zipped closed; I could walk away and pretend my moment of bared soul never happened.

Before I lost my nerve, I picked up the phone and dialed the familiar digits.

“Hello?”

His voice didn’t evoke the yearned-for quiver in my gut.  Fate nudged me to disconnect the call.  My heart wanted Jeffrey.

“Hello?”

“It’s Catherine.  Adam, I will marry you.”

Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt, which is to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 553) (1) with some kind of reference to the media prompt, a short film by Tanmay Shah, entitled Intent, AND (2) use the last sentence of:  “Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.”

Thanks so much to everyone who took time to read my piece last week, The Family Tree.  It was voted first place in that challenge.  Oh, and if you find the sentence prompt spectacularly crappy, that would be my fault – the first place vote picks the next sentence prompt.

If you want the chance to pick out a better sentence prompt for the next challenge, click the badge below to check out the full Speakeasy guidelines and be sure to submit a link to your own story when the grid opens up on Tuesday.  As always, the challenge is open to everyone, but is limited to a maximum of 40 submissions per week.

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47 thoughts on “Unplanned Intentions – Speakeasy #154

  1. nrhatch March 23, 2014 / 11:24 AM

    Poor Adam. He didn’t just become the consolation prize . . . he won the booby prize. 😀

    • jannatwrites March 23, 2014 / 8:59 PM

      Yep – and poor guy has no idea 🙂 Thanks for reading, Nancy!

  2. Michael March 23, 2014 / 12:24 PM

    When I first read the thing about “I ran into you”, I initially took it figuratively. For some reason, that line and the ones that followed it cracked me up.

    • jannatwrites March 23, 2014 / 9:00 PM

      I was hoping someone would pick up on that, Michael! The ‘ran into you’ being literal was intentional (my twisted sense of humor works that way.)

  3. diannegray March 24, 2014 / 4:18 PM

    LOL! I love this. Very clever. Poor Adam is in for a world of pain…

    • jannatwrites March 24, 2014 / 9:08 PM

      It’s hard not to feel sorry for the guy because he probably has no idea he’s second choice. Thanks for reading, Dianne!

  4. agjorgenson March 24, 2014 / 4:36 PM

    Well done! You really do have a knack for weaving these obtuse offerings together into a clever narrative!

    • jannatwrites March 24, 2014 / 9:10 PM

      Thanks, Allen! I appreciate the nice words – thanks for reading!

  5. Eric Alagan March 24, 2014 / 5:29 PM

    “For twelve months, I’ve waited for you to come to your senses…”

    This and similar sentences/phrases littered throughout the letter are quite revealing of Catherine.

    Poor Adam, the way I see it – either way, he was damned.

    Peace,
    Eric

    • jannatwrites March 24, 2014 / 9:14 PM

      Yeah, Adam doesn’t stand a chance! I originally imagined Catherine to be a legitimate ex, but as I reread the story, I think she could’ve been a stalker- visiting him after his girlfriend left, dropping by his house, etc. I always appreciate you talking time to read my stories and offer your thoughts, Eric. Thanks!

  6. Madhura March 25, 2014 / 12:20 AM

    Oh!! Poor Adam indeed! You can see Catherine’s thought process unfold, but the end was simply great! Nice post!

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2014 / 8:27 AM

      Thanks so much for reading, Madhura! Adam is pretty much a distraction. Hope he doesn’t realize that down the road 🙂

  7. ranu802 March 25, 2014 / 5:24 AM

    Wow Janna I was a bit confused, stopped for a moment and realized what it meant.Thank you Janna, as usual your stories are always interesting.

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2014 / 8:28 AM

      Thanks for reading and puzzling on this one, Ranu!

  8. nabanita March 25, 2014 / 8:06 AM

    Ohh poor Adam and poor Catherine…! Things that the heart makes us do!

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2014 / 8:29 AM

      The heart really should communicate with the brain more often 🙂 Thanks so much for reading, Nabanita!

  9. jacquelinecaseypoetry March 25, 2014 / 11:11 AM

    I’m still laughing. I’ve known some pushy broads in my day, but this one takes the prize.
    Clever use of the English language. Ever read any Mark Twain?

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2014 / 10:22 PM

      I’m glad you found the humor in it, Jacqueline! I haven’t read Twain since required reading in junior high/high school. I probably should try reading again because my perception now might be much different than it was then.

  10. Renada Styles March 25, 2014 / 11:51 AM

    Such a beautiful letter from the heart! And, yet, rather than reconcile with her foolishness, she still calls him. Devotion and obsession, a fine line indeed. As always, your words were lovely through and through.

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2014 / 10:23 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Renada. She is kind of an odd one. (Scary might be a better word 🙂 )

  11. stankmeaner March 25, 2014 / 12:28 PM

    I thought it was cool the way that the letter is written in a way that, at first, I was taking it to have been written long ago. When I got to the bit about rolling over her Passat (which made me laugh out loud), I had to go back and start over again.

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2014 / 10:24 PM

      I’m glad you laughed at that part, Stankmeaner. I thought it was funny, but figured my sense of humor is just warped 🙂

  12. M. L. Sexton March 25, 2014 / 3:31 PM

    I was completely shocked at the end. I was not expecting that. Great story for the prompt!

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2014 / 10:25 PM

      I appreciate you taking time to read it, M.L. Thanks!

  13. Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156) March 26, 2014 / 4:22 AM

    You completely shocked me with your ending! I was not expecting that at all. Kind of heart wrenching and sad. Wonder how well that relationship will last with her settling for him like that. Great story!

    • jannatwrites March 26, 2014 / 7:23 AM

      Well, settling normally doesn’t foster satisfaction, so I’m betting it won’t be all that great, Kathy! Thanks for reading 🙂

  14. Suzanne March 26, 2014 / 10:16 AM

    Yikes. Jeffrey dodged a bullet (perhaps even literally!), but poor Adam has no idea what he’s getting himself into… I love the way you slowly unveil her to be a stalker, and not actually a rejected lover. Nicely done, Janna! 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 26, 2014 / 6:55 PM

      Thanks, Suzanne. I’m glad you liked the story 🙂

  15. Mollie Claire March 26, 2014 / 1:02 PM

    I was really feeling for Catherine until “restraining order”. 🙂 Poor Adam probably doesn’t have a clue what he’s gotten into!

    • jannatwrites March 26, 2014 / 6:58 PM

      Haha… that’s what I hoped would happen – the reveal that maybe they weren’t as close as she’d thought! Adam should run fast and far 🙂 Thanks for reading, Mollie Claire!

  16. Stacie March 26, 2014 / 2:36 PM

    Loved your use of the letter and also the video prompt. So well crafted!

    • jannatwrites March 26, 2014 / 7:01 PM

      Thanks, Stacie! I wanted to try a little something different this week 🙂

  17. Silverleaf March 27, 2014 / 5:16 AM

    I really enjoyed the little bits of the video prompt reflected here and there, and the letter as a storytelling device was a great idea! You develop Catherine’s character so well – and what a great character she is! She made me cringe a few times 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 27, 2014 / 10:25 PM

      Haha, she makes me thankful I’m not her, Silverleaf 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and sharing your reaction to the story!

  18. atrm61 March 27, 2014 / 6:46 AM

    Don’t they say never marry a person you love,marry someone who loves you-that way you you are going to be always loved ? ;-)Well Catherine is doing the right thing-no use pining for Lucinda’s Jeffrey-he is out of reach 😛 Loved that letter especially the last two paras-you sure know how to spin a tale Janna-loved this 😀

    • jannatwrites March 27, 2014 / 10:28 PM

      I guess that might work out for half the couple, Atreyee 🙂 I don’t think tearing up the paper destroys her obsession for Jeffrey… maybe Adam will prove to be a decent distraction? I’m glad you stopped by to read it and liked the letter!

      • atrm61 March 28, 2014 / 8:16 AM

        Ha!ha!I guess so too and who knows maybe a few years later she and Jeffrey can have an extra marital affair 😉

  19. Bastet March 27, 2014 / 8:02 AM

    Wonderful story…terrible choice for poor Jefferey. Like how you developed your story through the letter, nice way to get into the Catherine character’s head. Very well done.

    • jannatwrites March 27, 2014 / 10:31 PM

      I appreciate the feedback, Bastet! I had fun with Catherine… I didn’t set out to make her whackadoodle, as I wrote, she kind of shaped up that way 🙂

      • Bastet March 27, 2014 / 10:35 PM

        Ah the muse tends to do as it pleases 🙂

        • jannatwrites March 27, 2014 / 10:52 PM

          That’s pretty much the case!

        • Bastet March 28, 2014 / 9:44 PM

          🙂

  20. Christine March 27, 2014 / 1:06 PM

    Oh, this is fabulous, Janna – it started off so gently that I was taken a little aback, wondering what you were up to. I love how she slowly unraveled in her letter! She is a little psychopathic, isn’t she? 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 27, 2014 / 10:40 PM

      Of course, I can’t write a normal little story 🙂 Thanks for reading and sharing your reaction to the story, Christine! (Oh, and yes, she is a headcase!)

  21. Sarah Ann March 30, 2014 / 10:17 AM

    Poor Adam. Poor Jeffrey. I don’t think anyone should get too caught up with Catherine if they can avoid it. Such a great and unsettling character portrait.

    • jannatwrites March 30, 2014 / 9:13 PM

      Thanks, Sarah Ann. Catherine really is scary 🙂

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